Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Nellie Carlson Votes for "The War That Saved My Life"

Porcupine is simply unrealistic in every way.  The protagonist Carson knows he is in for a dull summer.  His mother gives the 16 year old the task of caring for his dying alcoholic father whom Carson has essentially never met.  (Does any adult really do this to their son?  Oh, and mom is also a therapist.)  So, go from Manhatten to Montana where Carson meets Aisha, a drop dead gorgeous African American teen, for whom Carson immediately gets the hots (and the hards according to the author... Sheesh).  Too bad she is also a lesbian who has been shunned by her ultra conservative religious father, and is couch surfing every night.   Now embark on a cross America road trip to find the secrets of Carson's father's past, with $100, an old dilapidated Dodge Neon, and wisdom that always seems to escape the more experienced and world wise adults of the planet in this genre of YA literature.   (Why do my YA students never display this kind of innate acumen?)   And on it goes.  As Kym Francis wrote:  "My dislike for Porcupine is matched only by my love of The War That Saved My Life."  

Kym goes on to describe her reaction to "The War That Saved My Life":
"I am planning to marry this book later this year. You are all invited.
I am sure my bias was heavily influenced by my childhood on the back of many an obstinate pony (and I appreciated the accuracy of all equine details) but I also fell in love with the story, the villains, and the heroes.
But I keep thinking about a grade 7 student I was talking books with. She's one of those students that you fall into a discussion with and you feel like you are speaking with a peer. She says the most profound things - most recently she said, "You know those books where you fall in love with the characters more than the plot?"  I do!!  And this is one of those books. I miss Ada.
I hope for a showdown between The War and Echo, but I am scared to see these two beautiful stories fight. Can't they both win?"
"The War That Saved My Life" is the Nellie Carlson winner.   No contest really.   

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